About Us

Cognatum means ‘bringing together’ and is the name that marked the joining of two of the UK’s leading companies managing retirement housing.

Both The English Courtyard Association and The Beechcroft Trust were pioneers of top-end private retirement housing in the 1970s and 80s. Setting the standard for the building and management of schemes, they provided a truly English solution for retirement living, a legacy that Cognatum continues today.

Based in Oxfordshire, Cognatum Estates is an independent not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and is a member of the Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM). Set apart from our competitors by our prime locations, handsome buildings, beautifully-landscaped grounds and the personal attention of our estate managers, our purpose is to enable downsizers to maintain a stylish, secure and independent lifestyle throughout retirement.

Alex Matthews


Our board of directors comprises a chairman, three executive directors and five non-executive directors, including two who are Cognatum property owners. We also have a panel of eight owners, the Residents Advisory Panel, who meet regularly to advise the Cognatum board.

Executive Directors

John Lavin

Managing Director

Sharon Taylor

Director of Operations

Nicky Sercombe

Director of Resources

Non-Executive Directors

Guy Mossop

Joan Edwards

Geoff Paul

Joanna Emery